Our muses are named after this next pairing. And, like this pairing, they love each other very much!



"old habits die hard"

You glance up at the clock on the wall. It's passing three in the morning and she still isn't home. You sigh and get up. In the closet of the spare bedroom are boxes that you've been keeping there. Originally you didn't plan on using them. But tonight; tonight's the last straw.

Pulling out the boxes, you set about packing your things. You pack what's yours, and leave anything that you had bought together. With each thing you pack, the more your heart aches. You don't want to leave because you love her so much, but your relationship is a one-way street and you're not going to stand for that anymore. You refuse to. You refuse to be put on the back burner for some addiction.

It's nearing five in the morning, and you haven't slept. All of the things you call your own are in the boxes that you have already loaded into your car. You're sitting on the couch that she begged you to buy even though you hated it with a coffee in your hand, waiting for her to get home from the bar.

When she enters your house, she smells of alcohol and cigarettes, a smell that you aren't unfamiliar with. She stumbles to your bedroom, where you've purposefully left the dresser drawers open, and you watch as she freezes in the doorway. She turns back to you, and notices the empty spaces where your things used to be.

Her blue eyes sparkle with confusion. "What is going on?" she asks, her voice just slightly slurred.

You give her an apologetic look as you slip off your wedding and engagement rings. "I can't do this anymore," you whisper. "I can't come home to an empty house and wake up to an empty bed. I can't pretend this is alright when it is far from being okay." You place the rings in her hand. "And I'm so sorry."

You try to brush by her, but she grabs your hand. "Don't go, Clara," she begs. "Please. I'll change," she adds on. "I'll do anything for you to stay."

She looks desperate with her blue eyes glazing over with unshed tears and her hair clinging to her sweaty neck. But you know that, no matter what she says, she won't change. She's promised it before; she sworn she'd never take another drink. She always slips back into her old habits. And you won't put yourself through that again.

"Let's face it, Harry. We were never meant to be together," you tell her. "I'll always love you, but I can't do this. I can't take a backseat. And I know you say you'll stop, that you'll change. The thing is that I've heard you say those things a million times, and you still haven't."

She lets her hand drop. "I'm sorry," she says.

"I know."

Tears run down her face as you walk out the door, but you don't dare turn back. When you get inside your car, you let the tears you've been holding back fall. Leaving is hard, but staying is worse.

A/n – so many thanks to my caring wife, Paula, for beta-ing this for me.